Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 6, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EST

9:00 am
stability and security of the asia-pacific as we protect u.s. national interest. and, of course, the keys to success will be innovative access agreements, greatly increased exercises, rotational presence increases, efficient force posture initiatives that will maximize the dollars that we are given to stand. and it also is by putting our most capable forces forward, as was her newest most advanced equipment to ensure we effectively operate with our allies and partners across a wide range of operations as we work together for peace and stability. i was asked to keep these opening remarks at little shorter than the last time, so i can get to your questions. so i'd like to finish up with a couple of thoughts. the rebalanced is based on a strategy of collaboration and cooperation. thought containment. and that the united states is a
9:01 am
pacific power that will remain a pacific power, and we at pacom look forward to doing our part to keep asia is difficult full, peaceful and secure for decades to come. thank you. >> will take our first question writer spent admiral, thank you for meeting. my name is betty lynn. i'm with the world journal. could you address growing chinese assertiveness in south china sea and east china sea? and given china just announced they will intercept the ship's that go into territorial waters. so are you going to participate in upcoming defense talks with chinese? and what message do you want to tell them? thank you. >> well, thank you for that question. of course the issues that are being placed today in a south china sea and other areas in the north and central, east asia, i
9:02 am
think are quite complicated because of the nature of the territorial disputes, some of them historic, some of them now driven by the need for access to resources in those areas, and that's i think to some degree has motivated some of the activities that you see, seeing there. the u.s. position as you know is that we don't take sides on territorial disputes. there's many of those around the globe, not just in the south china sea. but we do want them resolve peacefully, without coercion. and that we call on all the parties there, including the chinese, to ensure that as they approach these problems that they do so in a way that avoids conflict, that avoids miscalculation, that uses the vehicles available today through diplomacy and through those legal forums that allow them to
9:03 am
get to reasonable solutions on these without resorting to coercion or conflict. and so, it's important i think, as we go forward to ensure that all parties remain calm about these things and that we don't unnecessarily introduce war fighting apparatus into these, into these decisions or into these discussions. >> admiral, i'd like to ask a broad question about north korea if i could. it's been a little while now since kim jong-un has taken over. i just want to ask him has been any sign that north korea's military and security policy strategy hasn't changed since he is come on board, or reduce it as a continuation of how they act in their approaches under his predecessors? >> well, i think we're still in the wait-and-see stages.
9:04 am
there had been, i believe you can take a look at the last number of months. there have been i think a number of signs that might lead you to believe that the new regime leadership is going to take a more, i would say rational approach to how to deal with their own economy and how they deal with their own people, and how they deal internationally. and so i think generally there's been a feeling that there might be some hope there. however, now we are approaching, once again, a potential violation of a u.n. security council resolution, and we encourage the leadership in north korea to consider what they are doing here and implications in the overall security environment on the korean peninsula, as well as destination. >> anything new? we been hearing some rumblings for some time that there might be some activity on that front. anything new that you can provide in terms of insights
9:05 am
into launches or things like that? >> well, i think you're tracking a pretty well. i think from the media today there are indications declared indications of their intention to do what they would call a peaceful satellite launch. and we believe it is in contradictory to the u.n. security council resolutions, that because of the nature of the type of missile they will be firing and the implications it has for ballistic missile type of activity somewhere down the road, and the destabilizing impact that will have on security incitement throughout the throughout the region, not just on the peninsula. >> can you follow up on some of -- was short assessment? they say they have solve whatever problems they had with her april failed launch. what's your assessment? how could they have solve the problem? who might've helped them? do you see iran and their possibly helping them throughout? and do you think he is doing
9:06 am
this in response to hard-liners in the south government? why would he be doing this? >> well, i think the professor reason is probably do it in conjunction with the anniversary or, on the 17th which is, widely reported in the paper, in the newspapers, but, you know, our assessment is that their desire to continue down this road is motivated by their desire to ensure that their capability, they are now a self-proclaimed nuclear state, their ability to be able to demonstrate to the world that they have the capacity to be able to build missile and have in the technology to be able to use it in ways of their choosing down the road. and this as i said earlier would be very destabilizing i think to not only to the region, but to the international security environment. so who's helping them and my
9:07 am
assessment of their ability to be able to launch this missile? i think that they have progressively gained better technology over time, and they have progressively gained that through a number of methods over a number of years and decades. to the degree that they will be more successful than they were last time, in such a short period of time and how that can what they've done to correct a, i can't tell you how they assess that. we will just have to -- if they choose to go ahead with it we'll just have to see. >> [inaudible] >> i won't go into the specifics of how we or our allies position ourselves to ensure that we understand what's happening, but we do watch it is very carefully, watch it very carefully. of course, in my role as the pacom commander, my never one priority is to ensure that -- my number one priority is to ensure we have reassured our allies and the we are properly defend our
9:08 am
own homeland and we'll homeland and we will position our assets necessary to do that. >> very much related to that, on a recent trip to the region by secretary panetta can he announced the deployment of expand radar with one of our allies. can you give us a status update on the program? and our other efforts under way or in asia and to increase broadly missile defense, our posture there and that of our allies? >> yes. well, i have nothing further to add to what secretary panetta announced. we're continuing to discuss that with our allies, japanese allies, to determine the time and location and where that would be. so i have nothing more to add on that. however when it comes to ballistic missile defense, first of all, it is a complex problem. it's a problem that affects all of our partners and allies in the region, as well as our homeland. and that we will continue to look for opportunities to be able to strengthen our
9:09 am
partnerships and our capabilities with our allies to be able to deal with the threats as they emerge, and we are doing that today spend are you speaking specifically to any partners allies of at any rate our factory, interceptors, anything else? >> at this point in time we are not, i'm not prepared to talk about any of the details of that. i would just say that we continue to look for opportunities to improve our capabilities, as the threat set changes and grows. >> you recently named -- can you give us a sense of what relationships washington has with india and what would be priorities for both india navy? [inaudible] how is it going to help? >> let me start with your last question first. as far as the indian ocean
9:10 am
organization that you related to that we are, we're not a part of but we are invited as an observer to it, but in general, throughout the into pacific region, first, you have to understand the breadth and scope of that region. is well over half the people in the world living in that region. all the major economies are in that region, including ours. seven of the 10 largest armies in that region. you can put all the comments in the world in the pacific ocean, put all of them in the pacific ocean and still have room for another africa, another candidate, another united states, another mexico. that's just in the pacific. the indian ocean is vast as will fix we have this really large, very dynamic, can't even call it a region.
9:11 am
it's half the world, where you have historical ties between countries, bilateral, multilateral, and you have this, there is no one security organization that's able to deal with things such as a nato. and i don't think you'll ever get to that because it's such a vast and diverse region. and so we have to rely on and have to support these multilateral organizations allow us to capitalize on where we have like interest, and do not be afraid to allow other countries to lead in those areas. so, now to the earlier question, you know, we agree much support india military, india taking a leadership in the security issues in and around the indian ocean. and we are looking for opportunities to participate and interoperate with them when we can. i have been directed by the president to seek, as all of the parts of our government have, to seek a long-term security
9:12 am
relationship, partnership with india. and that covers a lot of different areas, but in the military area we look for opportunities to interoperate with each other, and we are headed in that direction. >> china's aircraft carrier, in this town we hear it's a sign of inevitable conflict or its rickety soviet bucket, not to worry about. should we have to worry about this thing? >> well, you know, my assessment is that if i were china and i was in the economic position that china is in and i was in a position of where i had to look after my global security interests, i would consider building an aircraft carrier. and i might consider building several aircraft carriers. so the real question is whether we should be concerned with it or not. like any other country that build aircraft carriers is whether or not those types of
9:13 am
platforms will be successfully integrated into a global security environment that's a peaceful one. and they have a role in maintaining the peaceful global security environment. if the issue is that they are not part of a global security environment, and i think we have to be concerned about them. >> [inaudible] spent i think we're hopeful they're part of the security environment, and we're doing everything we can possible with the chinese, least on the bill to build to try to bring them into the security environment in a way that, it's already fairly mature globally in a way that they are a productive part of that environment. >> mike evans from the time. admiral, since the strategy was changed towards your every of the world, what would you say
9:14 am
are the most important capabilities you've actually been able to add to pacific command than what you have before? >> well, i'd like to know we've only been at the rebounds, you know, publicly for less than a year. so strategies often take time to be able to get assets and policies in place. but i think the most important thing was, was what we did in the beginning was the fact that we looked at the world, a post, you know, afghanistan area, and we said as we reshape our force for the future, where do our primary interests lie. and i think the most important thing was that the president put out a strategy that said that this was a priority for us now. and he said that publicly to the world, and that at all levels of government, including military, we have moved forward to ensure
9:15 am
our allies in the region that this is actually a priority for us and we are going to do it. so i would note that president was in cambodia right after the election. he was in burma. secretary clinton moved widely throughout the region as does secretary panetta. and the amount of activities that i do and my forces do have been a prompt jump in what we've done in the past, and we're looking for opportunities to do more exercise. we're doing more of those things already. i think it's visible to our allies. i think it's visible to our partners. not to be invisible to the region. we also want to jump, where's the next summary our aircraft carrier, that's always the sake of. and we will, over time as you heard secretary panetta said, we will rebalance our navy towards the pacific, and i party mentioned in my opening remarks, we are rapidly moving our most capable assets in the region because of some of the ballistic
9:16 am
missile defense will be facing of those types of things. so i think it's not about one thing. it's about a holistic approach, and what if you on the military side is only one aspect of a. it's got to be tied to what's happening in the economic side in what's happening in the diplomatic side. and so we're working hard with a whole of government approach that encompasses the strategy. >> one quick question. you started to do or plan to do rotation to northern australia? >> well, we are having, you saw the outcome of the ombudsman and what was there. we have a wonderful relationship and alliance with our australian counterpart, particularly in the middle to middle area, and the two countries were continue to look at opportunities where we might partner or better to be able to provide, you know, provide a better security structure in that part of the
9:17 am
world, which has growing importance i think to the global security and private and the global economic environment. >> i am with chinese agency in hong kong. you mentioned more or less you like to see much or military military relationship with chi china. and secretary panetta has invited china to join the greenback exercise in 2014. how do they respond to that? and have you any, have any -- [inaudible] chinese counterpart? regarding the military to military exchange program in 2013? and how -- [inaudible] first of all, let me say that i think
9:18 am
that the middle to middle relationships in the last couple of years have, between his have been quite historic. they have increased and they have endured what in the past might have made them be truncated. so they have endured diplomatic issues that in the past might stop them if we continue to have the mil to mil. as i said before i begin, invited beijing twice, visit with my counterparts there. just yesterday in my headquarters, the deputy chief of the pla navy was in hawaii at my headquarters receiving briefings on the future activities that our navies will do together, looking, talking to the issues at the rim of the pacific exercise which you mentioned that will happen in 2014. we have a growing ability to have a dialogue at the military level that is frank and open.
9:19 am
and we do that through consultative talks that we do on a periodic basis. and then we build a calendar of events on the areas where we think will have the most opportunity to have success working together to we build a calendar of events, and so far we're having a very good record on meeting those objectives, and actually completing them. right now i believe, timeframe exactly but there's an exercise that we are doing and a bilateral way between the u.s. military and pacom, and the pla. so i just sent letters to my counterparts congratulate them on their promotions. and hoping that we continue to have a good an open dialogue. because in the end, you know, we have the responsibility, the pla and the u.s. military have a responsibility to have a good
9:20 am
dialogue and a good relationship. it's in the best interest of not only regional security in asia but also global security. >> i would like to follow up on the anti-gay to tom regarding -- dig deeper if possible. how concerned are you about the potential loss of use of sbx as an asset in your region? and the fact that the missile defense program here in the states has to produce a successful intercept with the theater interceptor since 2008? and to follow on to that, can you go into what you think your vision it should be for adapting the paa that is in europe into asia? because leaders here said they would like to do some sort of paa in asia. >> you ask a lot of questions in there. [laughter] well, let me talk about the sbx in general. you know, the sbx was billed as a research and develop a
9:21 am
platform. it wasn't designed to be in a long-term ballistic missile defense architecture. still has a benefit in research and development, but since it was built in my estimation is that the overall sophistication of the capabilities have grown, and has grown globally so that the need to have sbx in that role has diminished over time because of the capabilities -- other capabilities are mature enough to be able not to have it. as far as the ability for the interceptors to be productive, i think it to look across all of technologies as we pursue in bmd, and recognize the significant technological challenges that have been associated with that program, and really i think, in the timeframe that we have had to develop these systems, i think we have done the technological part of this ballistic missile defense have done amazing things
9:22 am
in that timeframe to be able to reduce the capabilities that are there now. and i'm confident that they are going to produce the result that you're asking about in the future. as far as the overall, how you would put a paa and i came from europe in my last position, and again, i think it goes back to a discussion for me about, about the europe versus size and intensity, vastness of this region. region, even the pacific region but in the indo pacific, and trying to apply that exact model the defense of this area, i think would be a stretch for me. however, i think there are opportunities as we look at our alliances, as we look at our growing partnerships, as we've looked at multilateral organizations who are investing in ballistic missile defense
9:23 am
capabilities of their own. if they are properly network improperly put into an organization construct where they can work together, you will in effect have a type of paa architecture. and i think that will happen over time. it will require information sharing between countries who may have not done that before, and maybe a little uncomfortable with it. but i think that as the security environment changes that they will be good opportunities for that to occur, and we will pursue those. >> a follow-up. in europe, you've made it as an organizing construct a we don't have that in the pacific. so when you talk about networking and linking things together, what is your construct to do that? >> is the u.s. going to be a broker speak as well, you know, we have historically had a bilateral relationship strategy in this part of the world.
9:24 am
and now we are seeing the need for more multilateral organization. so in had multilateral station are the discussions about these type of collective security type of initiatives that you might pursue, using the technologies that you are able to buy and be able -- so i think there is a way had there. >> my name is david alexander. you mention burma earlier. can you talk about order, military to military -- [inaudible]? >> well, you know, first the mil to mil in burma, unicode we are in the follow on the state department, the decisions on where to go for. so we'll be supporting command the state department on this. my opinion is that, that as the state department and the leadership of the congress and everyone works through any issues that might have in the
9:25 am
past prevented mil-to-mil, that there are areas in our mil-to-mil relationships that we can be productive in early on that will help a government, and the military who are seeking reform to be able to do things with them that will help them understand and help them be more productive in that reform, particularly as relates to how you build a military that is subservient to a civilian leadership. how do you build a military that values rule of law, that values human rights, and can calculate that into come into its organizational construct and its training? and we can add values in those areas, and we're prepared to do that. >> we have time for two more. justin and then christina. >> justin with fox news. i wanted to ask you about the
9:26 am
strategic shift to your region, the pacom region. are you concerned that this shift could be considered premature am considering there are still real problems in the middle east if you look at syria where the u.s. is at risk for being drawn into a serious conflict there, and weapons, there's obviously talk about iran as well. is the shift occurring before the job is done? >> well, i would go back to the presidency strategy on this, and take a look at it. didn't say that we would only, we reject everything we have in the military, across our government into the asia pacific. and prioritize the asia-pacific but also talked about the enduring requirement for us to be present and any security role in the middle east as well. so, you know, we're talking about i think a near-term perspective on this. you know, we see a kaleidoscope
9:27 am
in afghanistan. yes, the middle east has issues and has historically had issues that will require i think u.s., obviously he was leadership and also will require certain level of military security overtime. and we will have to balance that as we look at the size and nature of our force structure. and what we have, the assets we have to be able to accomplish it, but i'm convinced that we can do both in the long run. and i'm convinced that we are on a good kaleidoscope in asia-pacific -- glide scope that will allow us to realize that over the next couple of years. >> thank you coming to speak with us. according to news reports, u.s. officials have said several ships have been sent to the region. can you talk about why we're sending ships to the region? and also, the number one concern
9:28 am
was now north korea's planned missile launch, whether it's violating u.n., you know, international regulations or whether we are worried that they will launch a ballistic missile after the u.s. what the number one concern is with that and why we're moving ships to the region. >> the moving of ships would be today, moving them today or in the long run? >> today. are this week. >> okay. well, we move ships around the region all the time. we actually have a fairly robust forward deployed naval force that is stationed in that part of the world. so we do move them around for exercises. we move them around for contingencies. and in this case, it should seem logical we'll move them around so we have situational awareness that we have, and to a degree that the ships are capable of participating in ballistic missile defense, then we will position them to be able to do that. so, we will go forward with that
9:29 am
as we did in the last time. a lot of this is about, number one, so we understand what's going on. i'd say second to that, so we understand if they do violate the security council and launch a missile, what kind is a? what is it about? where does it go? who does it threaten? where does the parts of it that don't -- that don't go really wanted to go, where do they go? and what are the consequences of that? and eventually i think, your question about, about, you know, what are our concerns as far as homeland defense, i think from my perspective at pacom, i have to number one, kind of worry about reassuring our allies, we assuring we have that well done. i also have a homeland defense requirement for guam and for the marianas and other states in that part of the world. but also have a supporting role
9:30 am
to ensure that homeland defense should at some point in time, there'd be a nation that decided, attack the homeland with a ballistic missile, but i'm in a position to be able to support my other commanders, northern command, strategic command to influence that any way that we control the outcome of it. >> we will leave this briefing at this point to take you to live coverage of the u.s. senate. we want to apologize for the camera angle we had to cover the briefing. problem with a camera at the pentagon. sorry about that. you can watch the briefing began at a website. go to the u.s. senate coming into session. the house recessed until next week. senators continued debate today on normalizing trade relations with russia. a vote expected shortly after noon today. and not to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer.
9:31 am
the chaplain: let us pray. god of wonder, beyond all majesty, you alone are worthy of our praise. stay with us, bringing your grace and gladness to brighten our lives. lord, remove our sins from us and cleanse us with your spirit, emancipating us from fears about what tomorrow may hold. continue to direct the steps of our lawmakers, keeping them from eleventh-hour decisions that bring unintended negative consequences. remind them that the cost of indecision may be much higher than they anticipate.
9:32 am
purple them of the things that increase discord, that in unity they may serve you with fanalfulness. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, december 6, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom udall, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties f
9:33 am
the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: following leader remarks, which will be in a period of morning business until 11:45 today. senators will be permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. we would like that time to be for speeches for our retiring senators. at 11:45, the senate will move to consider the nominations of walker and berg, judges. we expect only two roll call votes since we hope the berg nomination will be confirmed by voice. mr. president, we democrats have been saying for more than four months, it's time for the thousands pass a middle-class tax cut which we approved here
9:34 am
in the senate in july. as the days until the country goes over the fiscal cliff goes by, more and more republicans have joined our chorus. they recognize that the willing misto compromise sooner has put them in a real bind. so reasonable republicans are asking the house leadership to allow a vote on the senate-passed legislation. what was once a trickle has become more of a flood. last week republican representative tom cole said it was time to give middle-class families certainty their taxes won't go up by $2,200 on average on january 1. then tim scott from north carolina ad admitted that the senate-passed tax cut will surely pass the house since it will take only 26 republican ren votes for passage.
9:35 am
i don't most of the time agree with david brooks but no one can dispute this columnist for "the new york times" is brilliant in writing. he's a great, great journalist and explains things so well. i really have great admiration for him. he wrote yesterday, "republicans have to realize they are going to have to cave in on tax rates." that's the way it is, mr. president. "they're going to have to cave on tax rates." then on tuesday, day before yesterday, the senior senator from maine, olympia snowe, urged house republican leaders to end the suspense for middle-class taxpayers. "they shouldn't have to wonder whether we will ultimately raise taxes on low- to middle-income people." i assure them we won't raise taxes on the middle class on the poor, is what ow olympia snowe
9:36 am
said. yesterday it seemed every practical republican left in washington was suddenly willing to say out loud what we have known for weeks: the only remaining option is for the house to pass the senate bill. dozens of house republicans signed onto a letter urging speaker boehner to take the last hexit before the cliff. neither president obama nor democrats in congress have ever been ambiguous about our proposal to provide economic security for 98% of american families and 97% of small businesses while asking the wealthiest 2% to contribute just a little more to stop this runaway debt. and now that even a dyed in the wool conservative like senator coburn of oklahoma has endorsed the democratic approach, here's what he said, "i know we have to raise revenue. i would rather see the rates go up," he said.
9:37 am
he's been heavily involved in everything that's happened in the last several years in washington dealing with debt. when he joins in, that's really significant. it is apparent how this will end. the only question is, when will it end? it's how long will speaker boehner make middle-class families wait for relief and how long will he force the financial markets to wait for u un-- wait for certainty? the longer he delays, the greater i think ris the risk to. so i urge him, don't listen to me, listen to your own caucus. listen to prudent members of your own party around the country. we can argue whether to give more unnecessary tax breaks to the wealthy tomorrow. we can discuss balanced, responsible ways to reduce our deficit next week. we can reform our tax code next year.
9:38 am
but we must give economic certainty to the middle class now, today. democrats agree, independents agree, and the majority of republicans agree, mr. president, and the american public agrees by a huge margin. even dozens of c.e.o.'s from major corporations whose personal taxes go up under our plan emphatically agree. the only people who aren't on board are republicans in congress. but now even they're crying out for compromise. i only hope my friend, john boehner, is listening.
9:39 am
the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the
9:40 am
absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
9:41 am
9:42 am
9:43 am
9:44 am
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: yesterday afternoon came to the floor and offered president obama's proposal on the fiscal cliff to show that neither he nor democrats in congress are acting in good faith in these negotiations. with just a few weeks to go before a potentially devastating and entirely avoidable blow to the economy, the president proposed a plan that members of his own party won't even vote for. so i think it's safe to say at this point that the president actually isn't interested in a balanced agreement, he's not particularly interested in avoiding the fiscal cliff, and he's clearly not interested at all in cutting any spending. what the president is really interested in, as we learned just yesterday, is getting as
9:45 am
much taxpayer money as he can, first, by raising taxes on small business that he believes are making too much money and then on everybody else, not so he can lower the debt or the deficit but so he can spend to his heart's contefnlts for months the president has been saying all he wants is to raise taxes on the top 2% so he can tackle the debt and the deficit. however, yesterday he finally revealed that's not really his true intent. by demanding the power to raise the debt limit whenever he wants, by as much as he wants, he showed what he's really after is assuming unprecedented power to spend taxpayer dollars without any limit at all. this isn't about getting a handle on deficits or debt for him. it's about spending even more than he already has.
9:46 am
why else would he demand the power to raise the debt limit on his own? by the way, why on earth would we ever consider giving a president who's brought us four years of $1 trillion unchecked deficits authority to borrow? he's the last person who should have limitless borrowing power. the only way we ever cut spending around here is by using the debate over the debt limit to do it. now the president wants to remove that spur to cut altogether. of course it gets in the way of his spending plans. i assure you it's not going to happen. the american people want washington to get spending under control, and the debt limit is the best tool we have to make the president take that demand seriously. the american people want us to fight to cut spending. it's a fight they deserve and a fight we're happy to have. now, mr. president, i indicated to the majority leader i was going to propound the following
9:47 am
consent: i'm prepared to ask consent to allow the senate to vote on the president's debt limit proposal. i would ask this either as an amendment to the russian pntr measure that we will vote on this afternoon or a free-standing bill if that is preferred. therefore, i now ask consent that it be in order to vote on an amendment which is the president's debt limit extension proposal that i just described prior to the passage of the russia pntr bill today. spoeup is there -- the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: reserving the right to object. i'm sorry. reserving the right to object, mr. president. i've been thinking how best to describe what's going on here on capitol hill in the last couple of weeks. every morning i get up, the first thing i read is the sports
9:48 am
page. i'm disappointed in the sports page in "the washington post" is not nearly as good as it used to be and "the new york times" is not good either. but i read them. there's always some good news on the sports page. then i go to the front page and get some of the bad news. but i follow sports, no matter what it is: basketball, football, baseball. whatever it is. and i've watched very closely. it's not one of my favorite teams but it's really fun to watch, and that's the new york jets. new york jets, yes. new york jets. coach ryan, he's got a problem. he has three quarterbacks. sanchez. he's got tim tebow. he's got a guy named mcelroy. he can't decide who their quarterback is going to be. that's the same problem the republicans have. who is the quarterback,
9:49 am
mr. president? who is the quarterback? mr. president, my friend talks about the $1 trillion, trillions of dollars of debt. mr. president, we just had an election. the people overwhelmingly know why we have this debt. the polling right before the election showed the vast majority of the american people realize the debt was caused by george bush. that's a fact. now, mr. president, we've created, there will be another jobs report out tomorrow. we had a little problem because of what happened with hurricane sandy, but we'll still have about 100,000 new jobs. we're approaching, it must be about four million jobs now that have been created. it doesn't nearly make up what was lost during the bush years, but we're making progress. mr. president, people in america realize we can no longer have the top-down economy that the republicans so loved during the
9:50 am
bush years and what they wanted to create again with governor romney. so, mr. president, i'd be happy to take a look at the proposal that the president -- that my friend, the republican leader, has shown us. if we can come up with something like we did when they created this other furor by refusing to increase the debt where we had an ability to come here and have a couple of votes to determine if we were going to increase it, if that's what they want to do again, i'd be happy to seriously take a look at that and report to the white house and my caucus. but until then, i object. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: objection having been heard. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the minority leader. mr. mcconnell: my friend the majority leader indicates there is some confusion about who is the quarterback on the republican side. that is of course quite common when you don't have the white house. but there's no doubt about who the quarterback is on the democratic side. the quarterback on the democratic side is the president of the united states. and, unfortunately, he keeps
9:51 am
throwing interceptions. and we're moving backward and backward and backward toward the goal line. $4 trillion annual deficits, and my friend from nevada still wants to blame that on george bush? look, and now he's asking for an unlimited, an unlimited authority to borrow whenever he wants to for whatever amount he wants to? if the majority leader supports that proposal, i would hope that we can work together here and get a vote on it and give his members a chance to express themselves as to whether or not they think that's a good way forward for our country, to give this president or any other president unlimited authority to borrow as much as he wants at any time he wants from the chinese or anybody else. that's the question. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: of course, as i
9:52 am
said, we'll be happy to look at the proposal by my friend. but the president doesn't want to do anything other than what we've done before, and that's where we are now and that's why i'd be happy to take a look at his proposal. if it's what we did last summer, i'd be happy to take a look at that and move forward on this. we have, mr. president, it's not only we democrats, but we have a long line of republicans who i outlined early on, where people recognize that immediately we need to make sure that the middle class and the poor are taken care of without their taxes being increased. we've got representatives cole, scott, senators snowe, collins and coburn and a long list of republicans are saying let's move on.
9:53 am
mr. udall: mr. president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:45 a.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each with the time from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. reserved for speeches by retiring senators. the senator from colorado. mr. udall: mr. president, i come to the floor this morning as i have on many mornings to talk about the wind energy industry and the importance of the trucks tax credit. but before -- and the importance of the production tax credit. before i begin i'd like to associate myself with the majority leader's remarks. we do need to extend the tax cuts for the middle class as soon as possible. that's clearly the message the american people sent on november 6 in the nationwide election that we had. i also want to respond to the comments and the conversation between the two leaders over the debt ceiling limit. it's important to recognize that when we raise the debt ceiling all we are doing is keeping
9:54 am
faith with what congress has already appropriated, what congress has already made clear we will spend on behalf of our country and all the various ways that the federal government operates. we cannot afford to have a situation like we had august before last where we dallied and we literally shot our economy and ourselves in the foot by not extending the debt ceiling. we saw one of the rating agencies lower our national rating; first time in history. there is a way to do this that is to extend -- have a mechanism in place so we never again get in a situation where the debt ceiling becomes a point of contention and literally hurts our economy. so i think, again, i want to say the majority leader is on track. let's extend these middle-class tax cuts right now and create some certainty, help our economy continue to grow. the majority leader is on point when he shared the numbers. i think we've seen about five million jobs created after,
9:55 am
approaching literally the great recession when president obama first took office. let's get that job done. i have another job i want to see us get done as soon as possible, and that's to extend the wind production tax credit. it expires in less than a month. it's been vital for job creation and for our american manufacturing. literally the p.t.c., the production tax credit, has encouraged the creation of tens of thousands of good-paying middle-class jobs, and it's led to millions in capital investment in states like colorado. in fact, 48 states is wind-energy industry presence in those states. and along with the capital investment, what we've seen is the development of thousands of megawatts of clean, renewable wind power. and if we let this p.t.c. expire, the stakes are really, really high. i've come to the floor 24 times to speak to the importance of
9:56 am
the p.t.c. and the benefits it provides for families and businesses in every state across the nation. i'm here because the wind p.t.c. is a critical investment in and a down payment toward a clean energy future, a future at risk if we don't act and don't act soon. but it's not too late to act. it truly isn't. to give us more motivation, to point out was at risk, i want to focus today on the state of minnesota and direct my remarks to their wind-energy industry. minnesota, we know, is the land of a thousand lakes. and although minnesota's namesake may be its water, it has become a leader in the wind energy industry and a compelling example of the positive effects the p.t.c. can vanna stake. let me share -- can have in a stake. let me share numbers with you. as of 2011, minnesota ranks
9:57 am
fifth nationally for the most installed wind capacity with over 2,700 megawatts. and it trails only illinois, iowa, california and texas. you can see all the blue areas on the map. those are areas in which there is installed wind operations. and in fact, wind energy meets 12 -- i'll round that up, 13% of the state's energy needs. this ranks fourth among all states. that means they're powering through the wind industry the equivalent of 770,000 minnesota homes. that number is going up. it's growing. minnesotans, we know through our two colleagues from minnesota, they take pride in everything having to do with minnesota, and well they should. and they are taking pride in being in the forefront of wind power growth. since 2003, minnesotans have purchased one billion kilowatt hours of energy through wind
9:58 am
source which is x.l. energy's green power program. it means 20,000 residents and about 240 businesses pay a little extra on their electric bill to support wind energy and show their commitment to a clean energy economy. mr. president, i know this works because we have a similar program in colorado. x.l. also has a presence in colorado and they offer wind sources to coloradoans. minnesota's prominence as a wind-power state has been aided by the fact that it also has a successful wind manufacturing industry, and those manufacturing facilities in minnesota have created hundreds of good-paying jobs and new investments. federal incentives, including the p.t.c., have played a crucial role in making minnesota the wind leader that it is today. if that isn't enough, mr. president, i want to highlight further the substantial benefits that this
9:59 am
crucial industry has had on minnesota. number one, the wind industry accounts for 3,000 good-paying jobs for hardworking minnesotans, including jobs at the state's 16 wind manufacturing facilities. you can see all these circles, the green circles are where those manufacturing facilities are located. the workers at these plants and the facilities themselves help supply and maintain wind projects that contribute $7.6 million annually in property taxes. those projects are in effect providing local communities with funds to help improve schools, roads and all the other crucial services that local governments provide. furthermore, minnesota's strong manufacturing industry has supported rapid growth in the wind capacity of the state. let me share those numbers with you. in 2011, the state added 542 megawatts of wind power
10:00 am
capacity, the fourth-most of any state. so extending the p.t.c. is crucial po continuing minnesota's growth in wind energy and making progress towards a clean energy economy. and in fact, the minnesota utility, northern states power, will have close to 1,900 megawatts of wind in their energy portfolio by the end of this year, by the end of 2012. and listen to this. in 2011, the utility got more electricity from wind than it did from natural gas, and i know many of us who can see or think -- understand what the future could hold based on what experts are telling us n know that wind and natural gas will be partners going forward. there is a synergy between the two. this stands out as an important milestone for northern state's
10:01 am
power. this company's investment in wind energy has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 3.1 million tons. so the leadership of companies like northern state's power demonstrate that when we invest in clean energy, we are creating jobs and strengthening our energy security at the same time. now, mr. president, i want to close with a couple of comments more broadly. minnesota -- it's not alone in its success. but these gains and the thousands of jobs that the p.t.c. supports a are supports f we don't act. during the summer and fall work period, we saw the effects of not extending the tax credit. companies like vestas pulled back capital investments. the production tax credit equals jobs.
10:02 am
we need to pass it as soon as possible. enough is enough. if we don't extend it, we're going to see very, very significant continuation of these job losses. so let's find a way forward. let's work together. let's extend the p.t.c. the longer this extension is delayed, the quicker success stories from states like colorado and minnesota could disappear. we simply cannot let this happen. let's extend the p.t.c. as soon as possible. mr. president, thank you. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, i'm pleased that the senate is considering a critical bill this week to establish permanent, normal trade relations with russia. i should have borrowed our friend's sign which says "p.t.c. equals jobs," which very well
10:03 am
may be an accurate equation, but pntr also will equal jobs. we can competegien the opportunity to compete, and that's what -- we can compete given the opportunity to compete, and that's what these trade relationships are all about. this legislation overwhelmingly has passed the house, it is going to have strong bipartisan support here in the senate, and i believe will pass today and needs to pass today. russia joined the world trade organization in august of 2012, and since that time, our exporters -- u.s. companies -- have not been able to take full advantage of the fact that they have this new way to get to the russian market, because we haven't granted permanent, normal trade relationships to russia. since all the other major w.t.o. members have already got that permanent relationship, they've had a real advantage since august of last year, as they can
10:04 am
move forward immediately and compete and make agreements that american companies can't make. we're the -- american companies are the only companies losing market share after russia joined the world trade organization. and not because they're not as competitive; because it will we do i-- because until we do what we need to do here today, we're at a disadvantage. we also need to replace the jackson-vanik policy with something that has more real-world potential and understanding. russia is clearly not the russia of soviet days. but, mr. president, we still have reasons to be concerned about individual freedom of expression in russia. we need to express that concern. that's why i'm in support of a portion of that bill that
10:05 am
senator cardin and senator kyl have fraught for during this whole discussion and now -- have fought for during this whole discussion and now have in the house bill the portion where we look at the terrible treatment and ultimate death of sergei magnitsky, and this provision will ensure that those who are complicit in those activities and in his ill treatment and death don't get a free pass. and it sends messages to other countries that while we want to trade with you, we also want to continue to speak strongly for the rights of individuals, no matter where they are, to speak up against their government. normalizing trade relations with russia is also an important move to my state, and i assume all our states. i know in missouri we exported $86 to russia in 2011, and
10:06 am
exports are up 6% already from that year since we started in . worldwide, exports more than $2 million. more than half was exported to countries where we have free trade agreements and we need to continue to do that. nearly 300 missouri companies supported over 32,000 -- supported -- supported 32,000 jobs that were driven by exports. 32,000 people in missouri have jobs because of trade, and a lot of that trade, frankly, is in our hemisphere. i am real estate going to come back -- i'm going to come back to that in a minute. i'm concerned that russia has failed to agree to bring its
10:07 am
animal health and food safety measures in line with the w.t.o. agreement on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures. it's called the s.p.s. agreement. i'm going to continue to monitor this agreement and ensure that american agricultural exports -- and pork would be a really good example of this -- don't face market access barriers in russia. free trade has to be fair trade. free trade doesn't work if it's not fair trade. if it's fair trade and free trade, american workers and american companies can and do actively and positively compete all over the world. we have a little bit of a trade imbalance these days. but 57% of it is in energy. if we become more energy self-sufficient, we could easily reduce our trade imbalance by 50%. if we just got north american energy, as our focus for energy,
10:08 am
we'd not only be more secure, but we'd also have a better trade relationship. this legislation, mr. president, what we're dealing with today -- russia pntr -- builds on the progress we made last year with the passage of three free trade amendments. many of us on this side worked closely with our friends on the other side and the white house to get these long-negotiated deals passed. in the suctioin the six months r agreement took place you there's been a $30 billion increase in trade over six months. the export world and free trade is one of the places that we can go and have the most speedy application of what we do to grow our economy. $30 billion in korea alone. american exported to colombia
10:09 am
have increased 20% since that free trade agreement took effect. the ratification of the panama free trade agreement just went into effect a few weeks ago, but that enables american firms to fully participate in the economic opportunities that will occur with the expansion of the panama canal and the continued growth of that economy. what happens there is critical to us. i believe this agreement, which i've said already has passed the house, will pass the senate today -- i think there are other things we can and should do. we need to work with the president and the president should be working with republicans and democrats who are friends of trade to do several things. one would be trade promotion authority. we used to call this fast and furious. this is where -- we used to call this fast-track. this is where the administration can negotiate an agreement. and then the house and senate
10:10 am
vote either "yes" or "no" on thatempthat agreement. right now the administration has no realistic way of passing trade agreements through the congress. the president needs to work with congress so that we'll give him the authority. he needs to ask for it and he needs to really want it so that we can have these agreements. this gives our trading partners the confidence they need to make the concessions that you make in negotiation and know that this is -- this is -- the agreement is going to be the agreement. it's either going to be that agreement or no agreement at a all. since the t.p.a. lapsed in 2006, we haven't negotiated a single new free trade agreement -- since the lapse of t.p.a. in 2006. if that doesn't tell you how important it is that we move back to a way to get these agreements done, i don't know what would. second, the transpacific partnership -- these
10:11 am
negotiations seem to me to be languishing right now and need senior administration attention in order to gather the steam they need. a strong transpacific partnership is the most effective way to consolidate our leadership in that part of the world at a time when china is aggressively moving into east asia. we also 234r50ed t need to looke philippines. senator enzi and i have a bill that would strengthen our relationship with the philippines called the save act. i'd like too see the administration work with the two of us to see what we could get done to have that relationship that's been so strong and has lasted so long become even closer, as we figure out how to trade with that economy in a way that makes them more stable and closer friends of the united states. and frankly we will benefit, as our work force will benefit from that agreement.
10:12 am
there's a trans-atlantic trade agreement that puts news a putss us in a better situation to trade with the european union. this shoulyou have two mature es trying to trade with each oampleother.the normal negotiatt labor and other things that sometimes takes so longs frankly shouldn't take long. mr. president, you spent a lot of tomb with our nato partners, and they'd be the same partners that would be our trading partners, if we'll move forward there. and finally, let me say, we need a fresh trade policy for the americas. we now have trade agreements with six countries that were part of the dominican republi republic/cafta agreement. and we have a trade preferences agreement with haiti, but we
10:13 am
really need to look to see what we can do to trade in this hemisphere, improve our economic relationship with the south american giant country and giant economy of brazil. your best trading partners, mr. president, should be your neighbors. certainly canada and mexico have proved that. when we send canada $1, they traditionally send us back somewhere in the neighborhood of $1. right now it's about 91 cents. our trade with mexico -- mexico now sends us back -- or at least a year ago shall, and this number continues to negotiation, but was sending back 75 cents. that's why on the energy front when you deal with them, it makes a ditches sms so they have proven that your neighbor should be your best trading partners. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. blunt: 30 seconds? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: we need to look at expanding the economic partnerships to our neighborhood. the western hemisphere needs
10:14 am
more attention. trade makes essential for america. trade creates jobs. trade creates opportunity. i'm glad we're voting on this trade agreement today, and i would yield back. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine is recognized. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, many of our colleagues will be leaving us at the i understand o end of this . and i wish to take time this morning to pay tribute to some of my colleagues, particularly those with whom i've worked most closely. and, of course, i must start with my colleague and friend from maine, olympia snowe. mr. president, in ancient sparta, there was a saying that roughly translated as this:
10:15 am
"it seems all the world knows what is the right thing to do, but it is only the spartans who will do anything about it." as my friend, colleague, and senior senator from maine olympia snowe tends he ends here in the senate, i rise to pay tribute to this decendant of that legendary civilization. olympia is a true leader who has always devoted her considerable intellect, energy and commitment to doing what was right for maine and for america. olympia snowe has dedicated her life to public service. 18 years in the united states
10:16 am
senate preceded by 16 representing maine's second congressional district, plus 5 in the maine legislature add up to a remarkable record of commitment to our nation and the great state of maine. but that span of nearly four decades tells us only part of the story. for olympia has truly set the gold standard for public service. from the statehouse to the u.s. capitol, olympia has built an outstanding reputation as an informed, thoughtful and effective legislator. she can always be counted on as a leader with integrity who pursued solutions and who had no interest in just scoring
10:17 am
partisan political points. it is olympia's character that has made all that difference. mr. president, the private acts of public figures can tell you a lot about their character, so i want to share with my colleagues this morning a story about olympia snowe that i witnessed personally. there was a republican fund-raiser going on one night, and i was arriving late, driving up in a car. people were streaming out of the fund-raiser, and each of them was passing by a man who was on crutches with only one leg, clearly destitute, clearly down on his luck, who was asking for money. everybody but olympia snowe
10:18 am
passed him by without a word as if he were invisible. olympia went over to this destitute man on crutches with one leg, and she not only handed him some money, but she took the time to talk with him. and i think that tells you so much about who olympia snowe is. her kindness to this individual, when everyone else was passing him by, her kindness to him when no one was watching, her kindness to him was a private act that told all of us so much about her character. with her retirement from the
10:19 am
senate, olympia snowe will join the pantheon of great leaders that our state has produced: margaret chase smith, ed muskie, george mitchell and bill cohen. all of them, like olympia, exemplify the principle that public office is a sacred trust. olympia's inspiring record of service is but part of an even more inspiring life story. several times from childhood on olympia has been visited by tragedy that would have caused most people to become discouraged, disheartened and negative. but each time olympia rose up,
10:20 am
transcended her personal tragedy and was more determined than before to succeed and to contribute to a better life for others. her well-deserved popularity among maine people transcends party lines and is testament to her strength and her spirit. the people of maine and america are grateful for her many years of service. i am grateful for her leadership and her friendship. and i know that olympia snowe will continue to influence national policy for many years to come. mr. president, we have a
10:21 am
tradition in the senate of referring to our colleagues on the senate floor during debate as "my friend from this state" or "my friend from that state," and oftentimes the word "friend" really just means colleague. but there is a fellow senator whom i call friend in the truest sense of the word, and that person, mr. president, is the senior senator from connecticut, my dear friend, senator joe lieberman. when joe lieberman announced early last year that he would not seek reelection to the senate, he called himself a lucky guy for having had the opportunity to serve his state and his country. i would contend that it is we in
10:22 am
this chamber and the people throughout connecticut and across our nation who are the ones who are truly fortunate, for joe lieberman's life long commitment to public service, including his 24 years here in the senate. for more than a decade it has been my privilege to serve with joe as the leaders of the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee. regardless of who has been chairman and who has been ranking member, ours has been a partnership. and indeed, mr. president, i'll never forget when i was losing the chairmanship because of the change in control, joe leaning over to me and saying "don't
10:23 am
worry, susan. all that will change is that you'll pass me the gavel." it was typical of his thoughtfulness and generosity. and it is not coincidental, mr. president, that ours is the only committee in the senate where we do not sit with republicans on one side and democrats on the other. but instead are interspersed because we recognize, given our important mandate, that we must work together in a bipartisan and indeed a nonpartisan way. during the time that joe has been the chairman and that we have worked together, the committee has established a well-deserved reputation for
10:24 am
bipartisanship, for thoroughness, and most important, for getting things done. i note american people have been so frustrated with the gridlock that has prevented action on so many issues facing our nation. well, for the most part, you do not see that kind of stalemate on our committee, and that is a tribute to the leadership of joe lieberman. that reputation for our committee of accomplishment and bipartisanship is the work of many hands, but joe lieberman's finger prints are all over it. joe has always based his leadershipship on his unwavering
10:25 am
belief that the great challenges that america faces, such as combatting terrorism, putting our fiscal house in order, and defending freedom transcend party lines. the success that our committee has achieved in helping to safeguard our nation is the result of that nonpartisan, some might say independent spirit that guides him. and those successes are many. from the landmark intelligence reform and terrorist prevention act to providing the tools that strengthen our first responders to our extensive investigations into the flawed response to hurricane katrina, the fatal communication failures in the
10:26 am
fort hood terrorism case, and our current scrutiny of the attacks in benghazi, joe lieberman has always put country first. his actions are guided by deeply held principles and aimed toward progress. he has demonstrated his willingness time and again to risk his political career to do what he believes is right for america. joe brings the same dedication to everything he does. working with him on the armed services committee, i know firsthand how devoted he is to our men and women in uniform, and the deep respect he has for their service and their sacrifice. his leadership in bringing about
10:27 am
the repeal of the discriminatory don't ask, don't tell law was nothing short of extraordinary, and it gives me great personal pride to have assisted him in achieving that important victory for justice. and it was vintage joe lieberman. he did what was right. he never gave up. and he got the job done. throughout his many years of dedicated service, joe has demonstrated the kind of character that america needs and that the american people deserve. it is not by coincidence that the power points slide show that i present to students throughout maine include a photograph of
10:28 am
senator joe lieberman at work. the young pupils of today who will be the leaders of tomorrow could have no better role model than this leader of intelligence and integrity. a wonderful fringe benefit of working so closely with joe for so many years has been the opportunity i've had to get to know his wonderful wife, hadasah. she is a person who also demonstrates remarkable strength and compassion. her devotion to community service spans a range of issues from advocating for women's health and breast cancer research to providing women with opportunity through microfinance programs. the integrity and decency that
10:29 am
joe brings to public service stands on the unshakeable foundation of his deep faith. it is telling that his retirement announcement included these wise words from ecclestiastes: "to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven." and so in closing, i offer my dear friend this traditional jewish blessing: may you live 120 years. well, none of us expects to attain the longevity achieved by the prophet moses. i am confident that the gratitude of the american people for the service of senator joe
10:30 am
lieberman will be ever lasting. thank you, mr. president. mr. president,mr. president, inn senator jon kyl's service to this institution and to our nation, i'm reminded of these words by abraham lincoln. he said, "characteristic is like a tree, and represent putation like a sha shadow. " mr. president, jon kyl is the real thing. during 18 years in the senate preceded by eight in the house, jon has built a reputation that
10:31 am
is a perfect image of his characteristic. national magazines have named him one of america's best -- ten-best senators, one of the world's most influential people, and one of our nation's hardest-working lawmakers. his unanimous election in 2008 as our republican whip and his recognized leadership on the great challenges of our time throughout the senate reflect the esteem at which he is held on both sides of the aisle. these accolades confirm what we who have had the privilege of working closely with jon know from experience. he is intelligent, he is informed, and he is fair. he is dedicated to the people of
10:32 am
arizona and exemplifies the principles that are the foundation of our constitution and of our country. of all the words that have been used to describe jon kyl, these five describe him best: as good as his word. joe has been an invaluable ally. in the greatest challenge of defending america against terrorism, a challenge that he recognized and worked hard to address long before the terrorist attacks of more than a decade ago. as the leader of judiciary committee, he worked hard to strengthen our intelligence capabilities and was at the forefront of one of the most crucial antiterrorism issues: tracking, exposing, and cutting
10:33 am
off financial networks that bankroll terrorism. combatinit was jon kyl who playy role. now, mr. president, arizona, like maine, has a long international border. the american people fully understand the importance of borders that are close to our enemies, as they remain always open to our friends. jon is dedicated to providing those who protect our borders with the personnel, the training, and the technology so that america can continue to welcome with compassion those seeking a better way of life while turning away those who
10:34 am
would do us harassment as a member of the finance committee, jon kyl has been one of the senate's most diligent fiscal watchdogs. he has a sharp eye for wasteful spending. he is dedicated to reining in deficit spending, reforming our tax code, and making government more accountable. jon kyl understands the challenges that confront america, and he also empathizes with the challenges that confront american families. his record is one of strong advocacy for our most vulnerable citizens, including victims of crime, children, and our senio seniors. jon often compares his work in the senate to that of a teacher.
10:35 am
whether addressing constituents or colleagues, he striving strio educate with facts, weaved, andh facts, with evidence, and with the truth. none of us has ever heard jon try to win an argument by belittling or berating an opponent. it is simply not in his characteristic to do so. mr. president, it has been said that a politician thinks of the next election a statesman of the next generation. this statesman of arizona expresses his philosophy of government and the obligation of government leaders this way: quote "we owe future generations the chance to live their dreams, to be successful, and, most important, to achieve true happiness by their own efforts."
10:36 am
end quote. senator jon kyl's commitment to the security of our nation, to fiscal responsibility, and to helping those in need have earned him a reputation that is worthy of his characteristic. the people of arizona and america are grateful for his service, and i am thankful for his guidance over the years and for his friendship. we wish him all the best to come in the years before him. mr. president, there is one more tribute that i'd like to give this morning, if there is time remaining. could the chair inform me if
10:37 am
we're under a time agreement? the presiding officer: the senator may proceed. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, in his 36 years of service in the senate, richard lugar has established a reputation as an extraordinary leader on such you shalls as issues as foreign relations, not security, energy policy, agriculture, and economic growth. he is the senate's most senior republican and the longest-serving member of congress in indiana's history. senator lugar has established a well-deserved reputation as a true statesman. as a time when the coarsening political discourse across our
10:38 am
nation and here in congress is a growing concern, dick lugar is a shining example of civility and mutual respect that we must regain if our nation is to meet the challenges that lie ahead. 36 years in the senate is but part of dick lugar' lugar's lone of service. after attending oxford university as a rhodes scholar, dick volunteered for the u.s. navy in a 1957, eventually serving as an intelligence briefer for the chief of naval operations. as the two-term mayor of indianapolis beginning in 1968, he was a trailblazer in unifying local government, setting his city on a remarkable path of
10:39 am
economic growth and prosperity as well as efficiency. as mayor, he served three terms on the u.s. advisory commission on intergovernmental relations and as president of the national league of cities. it is he have dent as i tell you -- it is evident, as i tell you this, mr. president, that dick lugar always rises to the top of any organization because his colleagues recognize his extraordinary capability and his outstanding leadership. dick's life experiences and characteristic have served the people of indiana and of our country so well. he has been "the" leader in reducing the threat of nuclear, chemical, and biological
10:40 am
weapons. what better tribute? what better legacy could anyone leave the world than to reduce the inventory of these dangerous weapons? the bipartisan partnership he forged in 1991 to destroy these weapons of mass destruction in the former soviet union has resulted in the deactivation of more than 7,500 nuclear warheads that once were aimed at the united states. as chairman of the agriculture committee, dick lugar has led the way for reforming our federal farm programs and has promoted research advancements and increased export opportunities that have generated higher net income for
10:41 am
america's family farms. through the lugar energy initiative, he has combined his foreign policy and agricultural expertise to promote policies to spur economic growth. mr. president, in the dark days following the attacks of september 11, 2001, senator lugar set forth a set of principles to guide our nation in these difficult times. the lugar doctrine calls upon the united states to use all of its military, diplomatic, and economic power without question to ensure that life-threatening weapons of mass destruction everywhere are accounted, contained, and hopefully destroyed.
10:42 am
end quote. in addition, the lugar doctrine asserts that america should encourage democratic institutions and decrease reliance on foreign energy sources. these accomplishments and so many more stem from a profound intellect combined with characteristic. there's nothing i love more than to hear dick lugar give a tutorial on any country in the world, and he can do so; he can talk knowledgeably and teach us about any country in the world. that is the depth of his experience, his knowledge, his expertise. dick has also always been a voice of reason in the senate.
10:43 am
no matter how bitter the debate, he has always stood by his values and engaged in thoughtful discussions that result in solutions. and that is why his advice has so often been sought by presidents, military leaders, crab necabinet secretaries, gov, and so many of his colleagues, including me. as dick lugar returns to private life, he left behind so many years ago, his advice will continue to be sought after and, i hope, heeded. his knowledge and in insight wil still be valued and the example of his decency and civility that he has set throughout his life should guide us ar all.
10:44 am
the people of indiana and of america are grateful for his service, and i am so grateful for his friendship and guidance over the years that we have served together. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. webb: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, as our office is winding down from my senate term, beginning this week the field offices hue offices here a ceased their functioning and it is going to be my pleasure later on today to host a lunch for all
10:45 am
of my staff to thank them for the work that they've done, and i'd like to just take this opportunity today to talk about why i've said so many times since i came to the senate that my greatest legacy will be the work of our staff. you know, when i first came to the senate, people were saying, well, people are going to remember you for, maybe the g.i. bill, whic if you get it done, h we did. or maybe some highway somewhere, some great transportation project or something of that sort. and i s -- and i said no. the most important thing that a leader can do is to bring good people around him or her and to work them to the full extent of their capacity and then to provide them the opportunity to grow professionally in the
10:46 am
spirit in which you have worked together. it's not going to surprise the president or anyone else when i say that the greatest learning experience for me in that regard was when i served as a rifle platoon and company commander in the united states marine corps. when we were in training to go to vietnam, we had a lecture from a battle-hardened lieutenant colonel who had fought as an enlisted marine in world war ii, rifle platoon commander in korea and then as a battalion commander in vietnam. one of the things he said to us was you may carry a side arm, you may carry a .45 pistol, you may carry an m-16 rifle. but a marine officer is only successful if he fights with his marines. and it's the same concept up here. you are no better as a leader than the people you lead. we worked hard on our staff for
10:47 am
six years to find the most talented people in america, to work them to their full capacity, to instill in them my personal views of the principles of leadership and the philosophy of governance which are at the core of what i wanted to bring to the united states senate. and i believe we did that. we started with paul reagan and kathy wilmont. paul reagan, my chief of staff, a veteran of 25 years of democratic politics and governance inside virginia and worked for congressman rich boucher and worked for jim moran as his chief of staff and worked for two other members of congress, had been the communications director with mark warner when he was governor. we had what some people would call a political odd couple going on. paul was a master of every
10:48 am
detail inside virginia politics. my experience for many, many years had been on the national level of policy. and we worked very hard to screen every single applicant to make sure that these were people who met the standards that we were trying to put into place. kathy wilma, in my view, is something of a legend up here. she became our office director. she knows every capitol hill policeman. she probably knows every person sitting here working on the floor. she is an absolute gold-star administrator. she had actually, before she worked for us, worked for senators john andly con chafee -- john and lincoln chafee. when i was a marine i worked on john chafee's staff when he was secretary of the navy.
10:49 am
i would challenge anybody to rebut we have had the best staff on capitol hill. we set up a communications shop. jessica smith, kimberly hunter, two very talented and invaluable communicators who understood the job was not simply to respond to media requests but to proactively explain what we were doing, what our purposes were, what our goals were, what the philosophical approach that we were taking happened to be, to local and national media, rather than simply entertaining interview requests and those sorts of things. on a state level, we were able to have conoway haskins and louise ware set up an administrative structure where we were constantly able to listen and respond to the needs and opinions of people throughout this extraordinarily complex demographic jurisdiction that is the commonwealth of virginia. sometimes we forget about what
10:50 am
happens on these phones here when we're off in our meetings. the people who run our phones and have done our casework at times have astounded me. we go back to the votes on health care reform, we know all the debates that were going on here. we took a count in our office, and we received just in our office 226,000 pieces of advice just on health care reform. and, in fact, a total of 300,000 pieces of communications on that debate of which approximately 50.1% of the people who called in to us may have been happy with the eventual vote that i took. but i could walk out of the office when that was going on and i could see the young people on those phones and see how battered they often were from
10:51 am
the advice which, quite frankly, wasn't always pleasantly given. with respect to casework, mr. president, i had the great pleasure and unique experience when i was 25 years old on the secretary of the navy staff, i had a new casework, and it really opened up my eyes to how many people there are in this country who simply don't know how to open the door to get their needs solved by the government that has set its requirements on them. i did this for john chafee when he was secretary of the navy. i did it for john warner when he was secretary of the navy. and i emphasized strongly with the people who handle our casework what an important job it was that they were doing. and in the time that we have been in the senate, our staff has resolved more than 40,000 personal cases.
10:52 am
more than 40,000 people who have not known in many cases even how to approach their government, have received personal assistance that's helped them solve other problems in their lives. and, in fact, andrea troter, joann pulliam, debra lawson, debry boroughs on our staff, each one of them resolved more than 3,000 cases during the time that i have been in the senate. on legislative and political issues, i would say that when i came to the united states senate, i had made promises on the campaign trail, and we kept those promises. and the greatest achievements, in my view, during this term were made right out of our office not because we were responding to the suggestions of some committee work or from the executive branch, say they wanted something, but because we
10:53 am
continually made suggestions to those committees and to the executive branch about what we thought needed to be done. my first day in office, i introduced a new g.i. bill. i talked about it for years. the logic was very simple. these people who had been serving since 9/11 deserved the same chance at a first-class future as those who served during world war ii. within 16 months, with the strong support, by the way, of leader reid, we were able to pass this legislation, the most important piece of veterans legislation since world war ii. and most of that effort, again, came directly out of our office from the work of people on our personal staff, led by mike sosan who at that time was our legislative director and has since moved on to be the chief of staff for senator mark udall. we said during my campaign and
10:54 am
after i got here that the united states desperately needs to reform its criminal justice system. we have 5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's prison population. and if you ask the average american twaorbgs-thirds of them -- two-thirds of them will tell you they feel less safe in their own community than they did a year ago. not a political issue. always been a leadership issue. i was warned when i first started raising this issue in virginia seven years ago that this could actually have killed my political campaign. it didn't. people responded. and so, since i was not on the judiciary committee, we worked on this legislation to create a national commission to examine all the aspects of the criminal justice system. we did it right out of our office with doug ireland being the point person for the entire country to get this debate going in a way it hadn't been before.
10:55 am
we met in our own office with more than 100 different organizations, in our conference room. we had a bill a little more than a year ago that reached the floor of this senate, and i would ask, mr. president, or if my other colleagues, when is the last time that you have seen a criminal justice bill that is endorsed by -- it's two pages of organizational endorsements. but a criminal justice bill endorsed by the national sheriffs association, the marijuana project, the fraternal order of the police, the international association of the chiefs of police, the aclu, the sentencing project. we got a buy-in from across the philosophical spectrum for a mere $14 million commission where we could receive the advice of the experts in this country on an issue we have not received their advice on since
10:56 am
the 1960's. one of the great disappointments of my time here has been the fact that that simple, sensible piece of legislation was filibustered. we got 57 votes on it. for some reason people on the other side of the aisle decided that this shouldn't happen. we did get 4 votes from the other side of the aisle. and even the national review, which is one of the most conservative magazines in the country, said that filibustering this piece of legislation was -- quote -- "insane." mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to have entered in the record at this time the sponsors of that legislation. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. webb: for the historical record. we've had a lot of discussion in the last six years about the so-called pivot to asia. i will say as someone who spent a great deal of his time in and out of east asia that this pivot was heavily influenced by the
10:57 am
actions again taken directly out of our office. we looked for people to come and work with us who had expertise and the intellect to work not only on the hill, not only with members of congress and not only with the state department, but with our embassies around the world, with foreign leaders, with value day tors to take -- with validators to take a different approach. david bonine, gordon peterson and phillip brady among them. our many visits to this part of the world sometimes included five countries in two weeks traveling solely via commercial air rather than with military codel support, included repeated meetings with the top leadership of countries of japan, korea, vietnam, thailand, singapore,
10:58 am
indonesia, burma; all of which represent the future of the united states in terms of trade, security and cultural growth in the coming decades. with respect to burma, there was a great moment for me to be able to sit down and see aung san suu kyi recognized by the congress a month or so ago, coming to this country as a member, an elected member of their parliament. we began the change in that relationship from our office, directly from our office based on work that i had begun and become interested in over a period of six years before i was elected to the senate. we, i'm very proud to say, laid the groundwork for the historic visit in 2009 from inside our office. often i would say against the will and against the advice of our own state department. we used validators. we talked to people we knew in
10:59 am
the region. i became the only american leader ever to meet with general shui, leader of the military junta, to express my belief that we could work forward to have a different relationship. i met with aung san suu kyi, and i hope that those who had some doubts about the wisdom of opening up this relationship now can see the benefits as we see the political situation beginning truly to change in burma. we worked heavily with japan. this is a critical, often overlooked relationship. it involved an effort to resolve basing issues on okinawa that don't always get the attention that they deserve here in the congress but have at times absolutely paralyzed the political debate inside japan. ironically, i first began working on these issues as a military planner in 1974, after i left the marine corps and was in law school. our staff has met, and i have
11:00 am
been a part of most of these meetings, with more than 70 delegations from japan in our office, organized and conducted by our staff. in korea, we led an effort to bring democratic senators on board to support the critical free trade agreement that is so important to, not only to our bilateral relations but to the signals of the united states in that part of the world. and we began what i believe is something of a pioneering effort to get korea and japan to come together at the table to realize their common security interests. vietnam, i have visited and worked inside vietnam for 18 out of the last 21 years in addition to having served there as a marine. i will say i fought in vietnam because i believed in the importance of that country to our relationships in asia. i spent a great deal of energy
11:01 am
for more than 30 years now in an effort to heal the final wound of that war, which is the relationship between our vietnamese community here in the united states and the government inside vietnam. we have worked thailand, singapore, laos. i was the first american senator to visit laos in seven years. the first member of congress to visit cambodia in two years when we visited indonesia. we worked hard on the sovereignty and maritime issues in the south china sea. we initiated and sponsored two important senate resolutions regarding china's recent aggression in the south china sea. again, we initiated this from the staff members in our office. i could go on. let me just say that the other areas, important areas that our staff have worked on in the past six years include our pioneering work and economic fairness, the need for stronger programs in the areas of adult education, the efforts from inside our
11:02 am
office to encourage a full spectrum of energy development, the preservation of civil war battlefields and the vital need to rebalance the constitutional relationship between the congress and the presidency, which i have pursued in both administrations that have been in office while i have been a member of the united states senate. and at this point, because i really will not have time to list all of the contributions by my staff members, i would ask unanimous consent, mr. president, the names and the positions of my staff members be entered into the record at this point. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. webb: thank you, mr. president. and so for my staff, our heartfelt thanks, and to each of those of you who have served with us, i say again thank you for your contributions to our staff and most importantly to our country, and i say also
11:03 am
again i will continue to expect great things from you in the future. you are my legacy. never forget that the people you might have the honor of leading as you move forward in your careers wherever you end up will someday become your legacy. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from new mexico is recognized. mr. conrad: mr. president, i thank the chair. i wanted to first -- mr. bingaman: i wanted to commend the senator for his leadership here in the senate on a whole range of issues. he has served with great
11:04 am
distinction here. it's been an honor for me to serve with him. mr. bingaman: so i congratulate him on the various issues he discussed and the various issues he has worked on. i have had the good fortune to work and support his efforts on many of those. mr. president, i wanted to take a few minutes to speak about what needs to be done before we leave town, before we shut down this session of the congress. in my view, congress needs to do five things before the end of the year to head off difficulties for our economy. first, the house, -- as many have said, the house needs to take up and pass the middle-class tax cut bill that was already passed here in the senate. that's the first item. that's been given a lot of attention. second, we need to -- both houses of congress need to head off most if not all of the
11:05 am
scheduled sequester, and i hope we're able to do that. third, congress should pass the tax extenders bill that was reported out of the senate finance committee this summer, and that's going to be the subject of most of my comments here this morning. fourth, the congress should repeal the s.g.r. this is the law that governs the rates of reimbursement to providers under the medicare program. unless we repeal that law, we will have to once again patch the law as we have done for many years now with a so-called medicare doc fix, and i think the time has come to go ahead and repeal the law. the fifth item i wanted to just mention is that congress needs to give the president the power to raise the debt ceiling. at the same time, congress should retain congress' right to disapprove of that increase, but secretary geithner has made a
11:06 am
proposal to the congress which i believe makes good sense. it is based upon the arrangement that was agreed to that senator mcconnell had put forward in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis that we all lived through. obviously, this is a significant to-do list, and i don't intend to speak about all these items. i would like to focus my remarks on the need for congress to pass the extenders package of tax provisions. i feel this has gotten too little attention. it deserves to be dealt with as a major component of the reaction or the response to the so-called fiscal cliff. this is in fact the family and business tax cut certainty act of 2012. while i hope that the negotiations to avert the fiscal
11:07 am
cliff are successful, in my view we should not wait for a grand bargain in order to finish work on this important tax extender legislation. tax extenders are different from the other fiscal cliff issues for three basic reasons, and let me describe those reasons. first tax extenders are much less contentious than the other end of year problems that we -- that need to be resolved. the tax extender bill on the senate calendar has strong bipartisan support. in august, the finance committee approved it by a large margin. we have support from six republicans, including the ranking member, senator hatch. all 13 democrats supported it. i believe that many more republicans will vote for this legislation if it's brought up for consideration here in the senate. the bill consists entirely of tax cuts. it should not be difficult to get senators to vote for tax
11:08 am
cuts, right before christmas especially. most of these tax cuts have solid bipartisan support. many of these tax cuts will help the economy, will help the middle class. for example, the bill includes the deduction for tuition expenses, which is a $4.2 billion tax cut for college students and their families. it includes the deduction for state and local sales taxes. this is a $4.4 billion tax cut, mainly for people who live in states that do not have an income tax, states such as alaska and florida and nevada and tennessee and texas and south dakota and washington and wyoming. it includes an increase in the section 179 expensing limits. this is a $2.4 billion tax cut for small businesses. and it includes an extension of the production tax credit for wind energy. this is a tax credit that has
11:09 am
bipartisan support. it has helped to create thousands of jobs. the production tax credit for wind energy is a vital component of our nation's energy policy. its extension is crucial to taking advantage of our domestic energy resources and fostering a vibrant and globally competitive industry. in just the several short years that the wind industry has enjoyed this production tax credit, wind installations have grown immensely. manufacturing facilities have grown to where today we have over 400 of these manufacturing facilities that have sprung up around the country. the united states now has over 50,000 megawatts of wind capacity, and the wind resources to grow that industry substantially more. the production tax credit for wind is set to expire in three weeks as these other provisions are as well. with it, tens of thousands of
11:10 am
jobs will be lost. in fact, most wind-related companies have already begun to lay off employees. orders for new turbines and gearboxes have fallen off significantly. new wind installations are expected to decline dramatically in 2013 unless congress takes action. uncertainty comes from many places. for those who are in the business world, congress should not continue to add to that uncertainty. instead, we should extend the production tax credit for wind and extend the other existing expiring provisions passed by the senate finance committee on a bipartisan basis. a second reason that the tax extenders are different from other issues related to the fiscal cliff is that we have a tax extenders bill that's already been voted on in committee. by contrast, none of us know how
11:11 am
the disagreements about the bush tax cuts or sequestration will be resolved. those negotiations are yet to conclude, but the tax extenders bill has already been negotiated in the finance committee. the committee agreed to permit provisions costing billions of dollars. it modified other provisions to make them work better or to scale back on them. the finance committee approved this bill by a vote of 19-5. some senators believe tax extenders should only be approved as part of a plan to do comprehensive tax reform. i would agree that each tax extender and each tax expenditure should be examined again during comprehensive tax reform. each should be made permanent or fazed out based on that review, but realistically, the congress will not make those decisions before the end of this year. tax reform will take the better part of a year to accomplish or
11:12 am
perhaps even longer. we will need to pass an extenders bill before then, and we have one before us today that is worthy of being passed. a third reason we should pass the tax extenders package now and not wait until the 11th hour is that waiting could force the i.r.s. to delay the tax filing season by ten weeks or more for millions of americans. in fact, we are at the 11th hour. i should amend my comments to make that point very clear. this need for the i.r.s. to delay the tax filing season is because the bill extends many provisions that expired at the end of 2011. they need to be extended for 2012 before people file their tax returns beginning in january of 2013. after congress acts, if it acts, the i.r.s. needs weeks to
11:13 am
finalize tax forms and instruction books and to program computers to process the returns. the i.r.s. tells us that the alternative minimum tax, which is part of this tax extender package, would cause the biggest delay in the filing of new returns because of the number of tax credits and deductions that interact with the alternative minimum tax. in 2010 when congress waited until december to watch the alternative minimum tax, 10 million taxpayers had to delay their filings the next year. in 2007, after another 11th hour patch, 13 million taxpayers were delayed. both the patches in 2007 and 2010 were enacted in december, so if we don't patch the a.m.t. or alternative minimum tax until january, the consequences will be even more severe.
11:14 am
mr. president, i believe my time has expired. i have a few more comments, but i will put those in the record and urge my colleagues to take up and pass this important legislation, send it to the house so they can do the same and send it to the president. i ask that my full statement be included in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the senior senator from iowa is recognized. mr. grassley: in this day and age, there is simply no denying that our economy is very much a part of a global economy and affected by it. gone are the days when businesses relied solely on growing their customer base for domestic markets. today, 95% of the world's
11:15 am
consumers live outside the united states, and we're producing for those consumers as well as domestic ones. one of the things that will help our economy improve at a faster rate would be to increase trade opportunities overseas for american businesses and farmers, increase trade helps create jobs, increase income and expand opportunities for innovation. and as we've seen over the course of history and also repeated what president john f. kennedy often spoke about, free and fair trade helps all boats rise. that is to say, countries willing to lower their trade barriers and allow fair and competitive trade will see growth in their economies. however, history also shows, even among nations with good
11:16 am
relations, trade disputes still arise. that is why we need a forum to settle international disputes such as the world trade organization does. the w.t.o. allows american businesses a place to take complaints against unfair trade barriers and have a judicial result. for 19 years, russia has worked towards entry into the world trade organization. now they are in the world trade organization, and i support russia being in the world trade organization. as the world's 11th largest economy, with over 140 million citizens, it's obviously an important market for u.s. businesses and farmers looking to expand the overseas market. some of iowa's heaviest equipment manufacturers are already exporting millions of dollars of equipment to russia.
11:17 am
agricultural equipment manufactured in facilities all around iowa is being used by russian farmers as they look to increase their agricultural efficiency and productivity. the world trade organization accession process afforded us an opportunity to address russian tariffs against our products. in the accession agreement, russia has agreed to lower its tariffs for these construction and agricultural equipment products, and that obviously means increased exports and then good american jobs. by far, the largest american exports to russia consists of grain, meats and other agricultural products being produced by iowa's farme farmers. russia's accession into the w.t.o. has been an important issue for our pork producers,
11:18 am
for our cattlemen and for our grain farmers. iowa farmers are some of the best in the world. they are truly helping to feed the world. expanding opportunities in overseas markets is vital to the future of american agriculture. russia has been and i think will continue to be an important market for our farmers, but it doesn't come without its challenges. russia has repeatedly raised barriers to the u.s. imports based upon restrictions not supported by sound science. so now i'm going to tell you about some problems i have with russia even though i want russia to be in the w.t.o. and i want this legislation to pass so it can be fully implemented. now i would say some things that we have problems. let's take pork exports as an example. in 2008, u.s. pork sales to russia totaled over 200,000
11:19 am
metric tons, and since that time, exports have fallen nearly 60% due to russia's reduced import quotas and questionable sanitary and phyto sanitary restrictions. i'm pleased our trade negotiators were able to negotiate a satisfactory trade rate quota for our pork, but this administration under president obama has fallen short in its obligation to stand up with u.s. farmers on these sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards. in other words, using sound science instead of some i illegitimate reason for keeping our products out of russia. i have communicated time and again what i expected of this administration because they have to negotiate for us. in june 2011, i led a bipartisan letter with senators nelson and 26 other senators to ambassador
11:20 am
kirk requesting his negotiators follow the steps that we have taken during consideration of the past w.t.o. accessions. so i refer to china and vietnam as examples for this administration to follow. when these countries joined the w.t.o., we use these opportunities to obtain firm sanitary, phyto-sanitary commitments from those countries that went beyond the w.t.o. sanitary, phyto-sanitary agreements. in particular, we obtained further commitments in areas of meat inspection equivalence. in addition, in june of this year, i sent another bipartisan letter with senator nelson of nebraska and 32 other senate colleagues to president obama again laying out our that he stand up for american farmers and demand more of the russian
11:21 am
government on sanitary, phyto-sanitary issues, which would very much benefit our agricultural products going into russia. as we know, this administration didn't use the accession process to fully address these crucial issues so they have to be addressed outside of this process when we don't quite have the leverage we'd otherwise have. so that's why i requested language that's in this legislation to require our trade negotiators to keep working with these unfair -- on these unfair trade barriers and report to congress on their progress. our farmers are some of the very best in the world. we cannot allow their products to be discriminated against based upon arbitrary, nonscientific and unjustifiable -- or unjustifiable reasons. in addition to the concerns i've repeatedly raised on sanitary, phyto-sanitary issues, there are
11:22 am
other issues at stake with russia. it's a shame that we're handling this bill in a lame-duck session when time is so limited. this bill should have been debated at a time when the senate could more fully evaluate the current course of our relationships with russia. russia continues to cause challenges in regard to syria, iran and other regions of the world where the united states and other allies are trying to do what's right in the name of human dignity and also in the name of national security. i'm concerned with russia's own human rights issues and that's why i'm very glad that the magnitsky provisions that are in this bill. as ranking member of the senate judiciary committee, i remain troubled by the lack of progress russia has made on protecting intellectual property rights. furthermore, russia -- russian officials need to step up their
11:23 am
efforts in combating cyber crimes. these continue to be a large number -- there continue to be a large number of cyber attacks that originate from within russia's borders. all that being said, i realize having russia in the w.t.o. is a very positive step. one of the goals of international trade is to build upon the relationships between nations. having russia in the w.t.o. fold will hopefully benefit our nations as we work -- as we work together on so many issues that concern us. plus, as i've stated before, having the w.t.o. forum available to help our businesses and farmers when disputes arise. now, i have said that i want russia in the w.t.o. i've said that there's good opportunities for us there. i just spoke to why i think there's problems with russia yet
11:24 am
that need to be worked out. president putin isn't going to pay any attention to what i said but i want him to know that these are evidences of the re-sovietization of the country and that i don't like it. so i favor this bill. i like -- i favor working with russia but they're becoming more of a problem. i look forward to hearing from our trade negotiators in the not-distant future in their progress on getting russia to remove the unjustifiable barriers to our agricultural products. furthermore, as president obama looks towards other trade initiatives in the future, i hope this accession process will be a lesson. this process could have been better. in other words, using the leverage that the united states has during these accession negotiations to get a lot of these disputes settled, like we did with china and vietnam, that we have not fully done with russia. the president has called on congress to pass this legislation for some time but
11:25 am
his lack of consultation with congress and disregard for the concerns raised by this senator and other members have only served to delay this whole process. we can't keep approaching trade issues in this fashion. this administration needs to have real and substantive consultation with congress. furthermore, when there are opportunities to stand up for american businesses and farmers against unfair trade barriers, such as the sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues in russia, the president needs to seize that opportunity the same way it was seized in the case of vietnam and in the case of china's accession. i yield the floor. and -- i yield the floor. mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senior senator from florida is recognized. mr. nelson: i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. nelson: and as other senators come, i'm not going to
11:26 am
speak long. i just want to speak to the issue that is beginning to considerably irritate the american people and that is that they just can't believe that in washington, the two parties can't get together to come to agreement on avoiding the fiscal cliff. it's as if some are in denial that there was an election and that the president won reelection. and that a whole bunch of us won reelection to the senate and to the house. it's as if the ideological rigidity is still indoctrinaire.
11:27 am
and the lesson as that the people were telling us about -- and the lessons that the people were telling us about bipartisanship, that they demand bipartisanship, as if the parties and their leaders didn't understand that that's what the american people were demanding. and here, as the drumbeat grows louder as we approach december 31st and falling off the fiscal cliff. now, there's an easy cliff, whatever your ideology and your approach to this. it can be hammered out next year when we are doing major things, such as a rewrite of the i.r.s. tax code and all that that can portend in producing revenue. by making the code more streamlined and in the process
11:28 am
get rid of a lot of the underbrush, loopholes, utilize that revenue to lower rates. but that's for another day after long deliberation on reforming a very complicated thing that's gotten so complicated it's out of control and that's the tax code. you can't do that in the next few days. that's what needs to be done in the committee process of the united states congress. and so what easily can be done is recognize that the president won, produce revenue with the upper 2% paying a little more, and eliminate the sequester
11:29 am
which is a trillion dollars of cuts over the next ten years that were never intended -- never intended to go into effect after the original trillion dollars a year and a half ago went into effect, because this sequester was intended to be the meat cleaver hanging over the heads of the super committee to get them to come to bipartisan agreement. and, of course, a year and a quarter ago, they deadlocked 6-6. and, thus, that's why we're facing this sequester, half a trillion dollars of cuts in defense, half a trillion dollars of cuts in non-defense discretionary spending. most everybody says this shouldn't go into effect. so let's for right now, for december the 31st, let's
11:30 am
eliminate the sequester, let's reintroduce all of the tax cuts for 98% of the american people and then let's prepare, in a deliberative way, to reform the tax code and go about the process of scream lining and --f streamlining and cutting spending as the new congress unfolds. mr. president, that's what i wanted to share. mr. president, i yield the flo floor. mr. kyl: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. kyl: thank you. mr. president, i want to address the same subject and i certainly share the views of the senator from florida that we have got to solve this so-called sequester problem. because, as the secretary of defense has said, it would be disastrous for the defense department to take another half
11:31 am
of a trillion-dollar hit to its budget after already committing to -- and we've required under our budget act that the defense department reduce spending by about $487 billion over the next ten years. to add another half a trillion to that would, in fact, as secretary panetta said, be disastrous. so i appreciate the comments of my colleague. let me speak to the president's proposal specifically that was made at the beginning of the so-called negotiations here. his offer would increase taxes by more than $1.6 trillion on individuals, on investment income, small businesses, under the estate tax, farms and estates, and american energy producers. now, as president reagan said many years ago, if you tax something, you get less of it. if you have to pay more taxes to engage in certain activities,
11:32 am
you tend not to engage in those activities. what's happening now in the market is a perfect example. a lot of people are of the view that capital gains taxes are going to go up. so they are selling their shares of stock or their property now in order to pay the tax on the gain at the lower rate this year rather than the higher rate next year. tax rates should not be a factor in business decisions that are made. at least raising taxes, as we'll see in just a moment, is a very, very big wet blanket on economic activity and economic growth. when we're in a situation where economic growth is clearly less than 2%, it is not the time to raise taxes, as the president himself said almost exactly two years ago when we decided to extend the tax policy that's currently in effect and had been for many years before that, he said that to allow tax rates to
11:33 am
go up would be -- this is his quotation -- a blow to the economy. so if it was true then, it's even more true today because the gross -- the g.d.p. growth is less today than it was two years ago when he made that correct comment. but the result of his proposal here to raise taxes by $1.6 trillion would, in fact, reduce the economic growth, would result in fewer jobs, would result in less investment and therefore slower growth, and many major sectors of the economy. to show you how unserious his offer was, when the republican leader yesterday asked unanimous consent to have a vote on it, he said well, the president made his offer, i put it into legislative language, let's have a vote on it. the democratic leader said no, we don't want to do that, and he objected.
11:34 am
it's clear why. because not only would it not receive republican votes, it wouldn't receive democratic votes. in particular let's understand why. a lot of our colleagues here on both sides of the aisle appreciate the impact on small business from raising tax rates, and that's why there is a lot of difference of opinion on the democratic side as well as the view on the republican side that this is not the right way to raise revenues if you were going to do it. you don't raise it on the backs of small business. the plan that the president has proposed would hit small businesses directly. now, why is that the case? because unlike corporations which pay their taxes as corporations, they pay 35% corporate rate, individual rates are the basis under which most small businesses pay their taxes. these are so-called flow-through entities. and most of the small businesses
11:35 am
owned by an individual and maybe a couple members of his family -- for example, your local plumbing business or air conditioning business, whatever it might be, they pay their taxes as individuals. so when you raise the top individual rate or the second marginal rate or you raise capital gains rates or the estate tax rates, you're directly hitting those small business people. they employ millions of americans. in fact, about a quarter of all workers today are employed in small business. over half, about 53% exactly, of this so-called flow-through income is the money that these small businesses earn. and so when you raise the top two brackets rates or you raise the capital gains rate, for example, you're directly impacting these small businesses' ability to capitalize their businesses, to hire more workers, to buy
11:36 am
another pickup truck or whatever it might be. that's why we have said if you want to raise more tax revenues, there is a better way to do it than by raising rates that would directly apply to these small business people. and let me just put this in perspective for you. according to the office of management and budget figures, government spending has exceeded 24% of the g.d.p. since 2009. that's well above the historical average, so we're spending way more than we ever have. but, according to c.b.o., tax revenues, the money the government brings in, are projected by 2016 to reach -- or to exceed 18% of g.d.p. to get to 18.6% of g.d.p. by 2022. that's above the historical average of revenues. so we're spending way more than our historical average and in a relatively short period of time, our revenues, just because of the economy as well as our tax
11:37 am
rates, will produce more than the average revenue to the federal government. so it's clear we're bankrupt not because we're not going to have enough revenues but because we're spending too much. and the question is is it really fair to send small businesses the bill here for this excessive spending? even if we did believe that president obama would dedicate new revenue from tax increases to help pay down the deficit -- and i don't believe that -- new revenue extracted from the top two brackets would only fund the government for about a week, a little less than a week. so that's clearly not the answer. when the president says well, we need to ask the wealthy to pay a little more, let's parse that for a second. you're not asking them to do it. if you pass the law, i.r.s. will come after you if you don't. so this is not a pleasant request. this is i.r.s. saying you have to pay more money to the united states government. and the president always likes
11:38 am
to say a little more. well, it's not so little if your tax rate now goes up to almost 40%. if you're a small business man and you have got to pay 40% to uncle sam, you're probably not going to be able to grow your business. you might not be able to stay in business. you're certainly not going to be able to hire more people. so that's not little to them. it is little to funding the united states government. what the president says these small businesses and others are going to have to pay will, as i said, only fund the government for a little less than a week. it doesn't solve our deficit problem. it doesn't begin to solve our deficit problem. have you heard the president talk about reducing spending? no. he doesn't want to talk about that. it's as if he says the whole answer to our problem here is to ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more. well, in terms of the federal budget, it is a little bit more. it's not going to help very much. where are you going to get the rest of the savings?
11:39 am
that's what we ought to be talking about here, mr. president. and then as i was talking about before, it is how you do it that matters a lot. he should stop pursuing tax rate increases, as i said, and revisit the comments that he made a year ago. here's what the president said. quote -- "what we said was to give us, to give us -- it's a nice way of saying we're going to make you pay more in taxes. us i gather here is the united states government. quote -- "what we said was to give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which would be accomplished without hiking taxes, tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base." end of quote. he's right about that. if you want to get $1.2 billion
11:40 am
or $800 billion, which is the offer that the speaker of the house has made in new tax revenues, you can do that without touching tax rates. what you can do is put a cap on the amount of money that the wealthy people in this country receive in the way of deductions for various things that they do -- the taxes that they pay the state and local government. they have got a big mortgage on a second home or something like that. you can limit the amount of money that can be taken in special exemptions and credits and deductions and receive that revenue that way rather than by raising rates. the president said so. he's right. speaker boehner is saying all right, mr. president, you won the election, you want more taxes, we're willing to do that. we don't want to do it, we think it will hurt the economy, but we're willing to do it. but to minimize the damage on the economy, at least do it through eliminating these loopholes, these so-called
11:41 am
deductions and credits and special provisions. don't try to do it by raising tax rates because that directly hits the small business that you're trying to help create jobs right now. here is what small businesses care about. like i said, you have a dad and his two sons. maybe mom does the accounting for the firm and so on. they have to be concerned about the estate tax. the small businesses spend a lot of money trying to plan around paying the estate tax. on january 1 if we don't do anything, there is only a million dollars exempted. if you have a small business with a bunch of trucks and equipment and like, you're going to have far more than a million dollars in assets in the business. same thing for a farm. and what happens is that rate goes up to 55%, the amount exempted is only a million dollars, so everything above a million dollars, you're paying 55% on. i can personally tell you the stories of small business people in phoenix who have had to sell
11:42 am
their business because they didn't have the money to pay the taxes, and the business, the one i'm thinking of right now, a printing company, it's out of business now. it used to employ 200 people. it used to make a lot of contribution toss charity in our community. no more. they're out of business. the employees are gone, contributions to charity with gone. that's what happens when you don't care about the estate tax rate. we should care about that. it shouldn't have to go up. on capital gains. as i said, a lot of people are cashing out now because they fear there is going to be a higher rate later. and for larger businesses, we see some enormous dividends being paid this month because it may not be possible to pay those dividends starting in january when the dividend rate would skyrocket close to 40% if we don't do anything. these are not things that help business and job creation. so what i would ask my colleagues to think of, if you're not willing to vote on
11:43 am
the president's plan, at least listen to what he said a year ago when he said we can raise this tax revenue. we don't have to raise tax rates. we can do it by closing some of these loopholes. he was right about that. if we're going to have to raise revenues, i would suggest that's the way to do it and at all costs avoid raising tack rates which would, as he said a year ago, be a blow to our economy. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
11:44 am
mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, the judiciary, mark e. walker of florida to be united states district judge for the northern district of florida. terrence c.berg of michigan to be united states district judge for the eastern district of michigan. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 15 minutes of debate divided in the usual form. the senior senator from vermont is recognized. mr. leahy: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to include my statements in the judicial nominees on the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i ask unanimous consent to speak on my time
11:45 am
without delaying the vote as if in morning business on another critical matter. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, i have spoken on this subject many times on the floor. the people who are affected by violence against women wonder why the congress has delayed so on the violence against women reauthorization act, the bill we passed here in the senate. if violence -- if you're a victim of violence, you can't understand such delays. so i think it's time for the senate and the house to come together to pass the leahy-crapo violence against women reauthorization act, for the other body to do what we did overwhelmingly in this -- in the united states senate.
11:46 am
earlier this week, i read in "the burlington free press," burlington, vermont, "free press," a story of carmen charlton. she's a woman from bedford, vermont. bedford, vermont, is a small, quiet, beautiful little town in our state. five years ago, ca carmen's estranged husband broke into her home, he beat her with a baseball bat, i poured industrial strength lye on her, scweerg burning a great deal of her body and nearly blind -- severely burning a great deal of her body and nearly blinding her. her doctors said that she had suffered the most horrific injury a human being could suffer. today, of course, she is still disfigured and continues to experience pain from these injuries of five years ago. stories like hers remind me that
11:47 am
every day we do not pass vawa, more people are suffering. i ask consent that a copy of the article i referred to be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, the distinguished presiding officer was a strong supporter of this bill on the violence against women reauthorization act, as many of our colleagues were on both sides of the aislemen aisl. we tried to keep this as a nonpartisan, even beyond bipartisan, a nonpartisan bill, because certainly my experience has been that the violence occurs not because you're a republican or a democrat or an independent, violence against women occurs in all categories.
11:48 am
so senator crapo and i put together our bill after listening to victims and the professionals who work with them every day. we did not want provisions in our bill included to score political points. they were there to address the urgent needs of vulnerable victims. that was the one thing we want wanted. this wasn't a democratic or republican bill. this was to address vulnerable victims. one key provision in our bipartisan bill would allow tribal courts limited jurisdiction to consider domestic violence offenses committed by non-indians against indian women on tribal lands. and i relied on the experiences of senator crapo and others who come from states where there are tribal lands. and as we went into this and talked to the leaders of various
11:49 am
tribes around this country, i heard that the violence against native women is not only appalling, as we knew, but it's become an epidemic. it was reported that almost 3-5 native women have been assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners. and much of the violence is committed by non-native americans, non-indians. federal and state law enforcement may be hours away. and lack of resources to respond to these cases while tribal courts lack jurisdiction to consider these cases. so what happens, the perpetrators are, in effect, immune from the law, and the worst part about it, mr. president, they know they're immune from the law. so the jurisdiction provision
11:50 am
that passed the senate in the leahy-crapo bill would be a significant step toward addressing this horrific problem. but also it would ensure that no abuser is above the law. even though our tribal provision is limited and guarantees comprehensive rights, house republicans have objected to it. so i -- i want to come to the senate today and be able to report to my colleagues what i hope is a breakthrough on this issue and this important bill. two conservative house republicans with leadership positions in the republican house majority have introduced a reasonable, middle-ground position regarding tribal jurisdiction. representative issa of california and representative cole of oklahoma have introduced the violence against indian women act, h.r. 6625. now, the issa-cole bill includes
11:51 am
a provision that allows defendants to remove a case to federal court if any defendant's rights are violated. this modification should ensure that only those tribes that are following the requirements of law providing full rights can exercise jurisdiction and the defendants can raise challenges at the beginnings of a case. the house republican leadership should give serious consideration to this republican proposal so we can move forward and protect thousands of victims, not -- non-native americans and native americans. the national congress of american indians has sent a letter and urged senator crapo and me to take a serious look at the issa-cole provisions. we are. i'm consulting with senators on both sides of the aisle regarding this proposal so we can find a way forward. i urge the house republican leadership to do so as well.
11:52 am
mr. president, i ask consent that a copy of the ncai letter be included in the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: you know, i remain committed to finding solutions to all the areas of contention between the house and the senate on vawa. we ought to be able to pass legislation that includes provisions addressing the violence on tribal lands and the need to protect immigrant women and those -- those that have not had access to services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. i'm reaching out to the house republican leadership. i look forward to their seizing this opportunity provided by these senior house republicans to work with me and senator crapo and the 68 senators from both parties who voted for the leahy-crapo vawa bill way last april. then we can send our -- complete
11:53 am
our work, send this bill to the president before we adjourn this year. he will sign it. because with every day, every week, every month that goes by, there are more horrific accounts of domestic and sexual violence, whether a victim in thedford, vermont, or kansas city. we owe it to them to come together to find a compromisemencompromise.i've sal times i still have nightmares from the domestic violence crime scenes i saw as a prosecutor in vermont. i became a prosecutor, mr. president, at a time when many of the laws were changing, search and seizure laws, perennial laws and so forth. and i would go with the police to crime scenes to give them advice on what the new laws might mean. a lot of times those scenes were 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning.
11:54 am
so many times we'd see battered women, sometimes no longer ali alive. it's what's happened. i have nightmares from those. i remember the police who move moved -- who never asked, is this an immigrant? is this woman gay or straight? is this woman native american or not? they just wanted to stop the crime from happening again. and we give them a lot of tools so we can do that. and the thought that our inaction could lead to more such scenes as i saw there is tragic. so congress must act now to protect victims of rape and domestic violence. i'm optimistic we can move together now that several house republicans support a compromise position on tribal jurisdiction. i look forward to hearing from the house republican leadership. and i ask consent that my full statement be included in the
11:55 am
record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. leahy: mr. president, i -- i realize we're going to vote at 12:00. i yield the -- i yield the floor. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator -- the senior senator from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: mr. president, let me first thank senator leahy and members of the judiciary committee for the hearing that they held on terry berg's nomination for the u.s. district court for the eastern district of michigan. i know how hard senator leahy works to get these judges and their judicial nominations to the floor, and we're -- we're deeply appreciative for all the efforts over all the years, indeed, may i say decades of t the -- of my good friend, senator leahy. i think that every member of the judiciary committee who had the chance to read the record or to be there during the hearing will agree that mr. berg is an outstanding nominee for our district court bench.
11:56 am
i won't go through all of his background. i will put most of my statement in the record because i know we are approaching the time when we are going to be voting on a number of matters. but i can only summarize this by saying that mr. berg's qualifications are extraordinarily impressive. he will make an excellent addition to the eastern district court. he's going to serve with great distinction. and all of us, and i know i speak for senator stabenow as well in terms of strongly supporting this nomination, we all thank our colleagues for bringing this nomination to the floor and for the strong support that he got in the judiciary committee. and with that, i will yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
11:57 am
11:58 am
11:59 am


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on